Poster for The Permanent Way

Railfuture is proud of its non-party political stance and also keeps clear of arguments about rail privatisation and nationalisation, even though individual members may have strong views.

But David’s Hare’s play The Permanent Way pulls no punches in its condemnation of rail privatisation.

A new production of the play is currently being performed at The Vaults, an alternative subterranean venue beneath London’s Waterloo station, until Sunday 17 November 2019.

The play roared back to life on Friday 13 September, its first major revival, since an award-winning run in York and then at the National Theatre in 2003.

The Permanent Way looks at the chaos arising from the “botched” privatisation of Britain’s railways.

Told through the first-hand accounts of those involved at every level, from passengers to civil service mandarins, it asks the challenging questions: who was to blame and have we learned anything from recent history?

“We feel this play is more timely than ever,” commented director Alexander Lass.

David Hare said, “I had hoped my 2003 play would become outdated. But the latest independent review in 2019 proves the truth of what the play argued over 15 years ago: that the state of the railways is a whacking great distressing metaphor for just how badly the British were governed, and how even more hopelessly badly they are governed today.

“Why aren’t people angry? They were robbed. What belonged to them was taken from them by a bunch of bankers and incompetent politicians. What was theirs was given away. What was foredoomed to fail failed. And they weren’t angry.”

The cast includes Anna Acton, best known for roles in EastEnders and The Bill, Jonathan Coote, co-founder of Red Shift Theatre Co, Paul Dodds, whose recent Royal Shakespeare Company credits include Macbeth, Romeo and Juliet and The Merry Wives of Windsor.

Also appearing are Jacqui Dubois, Lucas Hare, Gabrielle Lloyd, Tej Obano, Sakuntala Ramanee and Jonathan Tafler.

The play is at The Vaults, Launcelot Street, London SE1 7AD. It lasts 100 minutes and ticket prices are from £20
Performance schedule: Tuesday-Saturday, 19.30pm. Matinees 14.30 Saturday and Sunday.